The fate of the historic Williams-Muse House at 2308 W. Club Blvd. is now in the hands of Trevor and Jordan Smith.

The couple want to tear down the 1920s Craftsman bungalow and build a new home on the three-quarter-acre lot in the historic Watts-Hillandale neighborhood.

The Durham Historic Preservation Commission voted yesterday to allow the demolition, but only after the maximum delay allowable by law—365 days. Because of the way the law is written, the commission had little wriggle room.

As the INDY reported, the Smiths had planned to live in the house but wanted to expand it. However, foundation issues prevent the home from structurally sustaining a second floor.

Neighborhood residents—and many from outside Watts-Hillandale—vehemently oppose the demolition because of how it could damage the character of the neighborhood, and the precedent it sets for similar tear downs.

The Smiths have said they would consider other alternatives. Tom Miller, a Durham historian and member of the Durham Planning Commission, notes there are many local architects who specialize in additions to historic homes.

Miller wrote an interesting history of the Williams-Muse house as well. [pdf-1]